Uncle “Peng” ASEAN Champions

Uncle “Peng” said that although we are elderly and not as strong as young people, but our experience and free time can be transformed to be the community interest

On 24 September 2011, flash flood hit the village. The flood carried mud and rubble to block the bridge that eventually led to bridge collapse as well as huge flood to the village area. More than 58 houses were destroyed with 2 people killed.

The villagers helped each other in identifying areas damaged by the flood and then they marked it on the digital map. By this, it was found that the damage area was so big covering all sides of Mae Jai River.

In his capacity as Chair of Sub-District Elderly Club, Uncle Peng invited the members from the villages to come together. They group worked hand in hand with local governments and community members in Disaster Risk Reduction work.

A short while later, the Community Water Management Plan was developed introducing step by step procedures, starting by constructing small water breaking dam that would reduce the strength of water current as well as reserve water for use during the drought season.

As for reconstruction and recovery work, the Elderly Club made a request through Foundation of Older Persons’ Development to donor agencies. Consequently, budget for reconstruction was granted. The Companies also help brought together volunteers from 10 countries with 65 persons to help in the recovery effort.

In the adaptation of the people living by the Mae Jai River, the Elderly club discovered that it is because the strong current of the water that destroys the river bank. So this kicked start the cooperation among community members and Chai Patana Foundation to grow “Faek Tree”, a plant that help protect the river bank.

With these adaptation activities, the community members feel safer. Children have learned how to make a good observation of river and water. They can have fun and at the same time they can help monitoring the situation.

From this collective learning process about risk of flooding as well as drought that may have been triggered by climate change, the community members (mostly farmers) understand and adjust their crop planting period accordingly.

The Pong Namron Community has demonstrated the active role of the Elderly Club, in collaboration with local government, community members and other groups in the area. They plan and practice disaster risk reduction activities and they adapt themselves in order to live safely.